Braeside Park offers a diverse walk that meanders through Red Gum grasslands, heathland and wonderful wetlands. There's also an excellent bird-hide along the way.
As you explore the woodland, heathland and wetlands of the park, it is easy to forget you are surrounded by the suburbs.
Before the time of European settlement, Aboriginal people lived in the area, hunting and gathering food. In more recent times, it was the training ground for the famous horse, Phar Lap.
The walk starts and ends at the visitors centre. From the car park entrance, a long formal tree-lined path heads south. Follow this path, past the two wonderful sculptures of native fauna. Cross the road and continue straight towards the bird-hide.
After 600m, follow the path to your left (signed to the Red Gum Picnic Area) and at the next junction follow the path signed to the wetlands.
Having entered the wetlands, you will soon reach the bird-hide. It provides a great opportunity to watch undisturbed birdlife.
From the bird-hide we return to the track and continue south, shortly turning right again to a viewing platform, and to more great opportunities to appreciate the fauna and flora of the wetlands.
Continue south, and follow the sign to the Red Gum Picnic Area. Toilets and a water fountain are available here. From the picnic area take the path to the left, heading northwards again.
After 1.4km turn right into the signed Heathland Self-guided Trail. This heathland area is dense with native flora and lots of birdlife. There are some numbered markers along the way. A Parks Victoria flyer, that you can pick up from the visitors centre, describes each marker. Keep right at the next two junctions as you curve around the heathland and a large pond. After the pond, continue straight ahead, through the picnic area back to the visitors centre.
Dogs and other pets are not allowed in the park.
The visitors centre has information about the park and a nearby toilet block.
BBQs and picnic tables are available beside the visitors centre.
Toilets are also available at the Red Gum Picnic Area.
From Mentone Station (Frankston Line) take bus 811 towards Dandenong. Get off at Sandleford Pl/Lower Dandenong Rd (Dingley Village).
The car park is off the Lower Dandenong Road. Go to car park number 10 (Cockatoo). You can also start
Not to be confused with the Common Myna, the native Noisy Miners assist each other to raise their young. They form large groups and actively defend their territory.
The last section of the walk winds along the edge of beautiful native heathland that supports a wide variety of fauna. A large section of heathland is fenced off for conservation.
Just as you set out on the walk you will pass by two beautiful new sculptures of native fauna.
The track is very level and well maintained throughout. Just make sure you have brought a hat for sunny days.
The bird hide gives you the opportunity to watch birdlife undisturbed in their natural habitat. An information board contains pictures and names of all the bird species you might see.
There is a lot of birdlife living among the wetlands including the Great Egret (pictured), Australian Wood Ducks, Black Swans, Pelicans and many more.
You might meet the occasional cyclist traversing through the park at a very relaxed pace.
When salty groundwater comes to the surface it can be too much for some trees as this group demonstrates. Rangers and volunteers are planting thousands of trees to keep the groundwater low.
The Kangaroo Apple adds a wonderful splash of colour to the park when in bloom. The fruits were eaten by Aboriginal people, but only when very ripe, as they are poisonous at other times.
If you hear a rustle in the grass it might be an Echidna out looking for lunch. But if he hears you he will quickly try to hide. If you see one, please keep your distance, they are very shy.